Massachusetts Hospitals Feel Pressure to Reject Medical Students Over Trump Travel Ban

There's no word on whether Trump's revised travel ban would include a waiver for medical students

Many hospitals in Massachusetts are now feeling the pressure of the travel ban imposed by President Donald Trump.

With match day around the corner, some of the best and brightest medical students from around the world could be missing out on the opportunity to go to Boston to do their residencies.

Trump's revised travel ban is expected to come out this week, but he hasn’t said if there would be a waiver for medical students. That is leaving leaders like Dr. Theodore Sectish at Boston Children's Hospital with some tough decisions to make.

"We’re continuing to keep this person on our list," said Sectish, pointing to a picture of one potential candidate, "Because we want to get the best people here."

At other teaching hospitals in Massachusetts and across the country, leaders are feeling pressure to say no to highly qualified candidates over concerns they might not be able to get into the United States.

"We’re definitely limiting the field of progress, we’re definitely limiting the field of the availability of health care," said Dr. Kelly Thibert, president of the American Medical Student Association.

Thibert said the reality is that hospitals don’t want to waste precious time and energy vetting a candidate when they can later be told they can’t be brought in.

"We have people who are fearing what is going to happen with their careers," Thibert said.

Nearly one in five physicians in the U.S. are foreign born, and there’s even a federal program that allows them to remain in the country if they serve in poor and rural areas.

Dr. Alhasan Sedeeq at Children’s is a third year resident from Iraq, and said those communities could be harmed the most by Trump’s executive order.

"So that’s one area that I think will be effected by the travel ban," said Sedeeq. "The health system here need a lot of people willing to work in underserved areas that maybe the American graduates won't be interested in going."

It still remains unclear what will be in Trump's revised travel ban, so hospital leaders are taking a "wait and see" approach in their response for now.

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